A landfill is a dumping ground for random objects and things. I figure that this blog is going to serve as a dumping ground for my random thoughts - therefore, it's a mindfill.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Big 3-0!

Last week (Thanksgiving Day to be exact) I turned 30. Now I'm not one of those people that constantly dreaded turning 30. As a matter of fact, although I don't look forward to growing older, the thought of turning 30 never really bothered me - that is, until the big day hit. I didn't feel any different or look any different. So what was different? I had the sudden realization that where I saw myself at 30 isn't anywhere near where I actually am!

Granted, when I was a kid I thought I would either be the starting third baseman for the Reds or a doctor or even a doctor that was the starting third baseman for the Reds. Perhaps my perception of the future was a little skewed as a child, I'll concede that much. But the truth of the matter is even as I got a little older and my goals became a little (or a lot) more realistic, they are still vastly different than the current state of things.

For example, when I started college I was a pre-med major. It was my goal to be a doctor. By that time I had given up the dream of playing for the Reds. So, naturally, I thought that by my thirtieth birthday I'd either be a full-fledged doctor or at least a resident. The thought never occurred to me that Freshman chemistry was going to lower both my career goals and my GPA. As a result, I ended up changing my major and disappearing into the void of a liberal arts education. Needless to say, I'm not presently a doctor or a resident or even a liberal artist (although I'm not sure what exactly that would be!)

Apart from my career aspirations, I was convinced that by the time I hit 30 I would be married and most likely a father too. Let's face it, I come from a white-bread, "Leave it to Beaver Family", so this was a logical expectation. At least I thought it was. Now, at 30 I've accomplished neither of those. As a matter of fact, I was recently dealt quite a crushing blow in this area and now feel like I'm farther away than ever.

So what was the point of all of this? To be honest with you I'm not quite sure. I rather expected myself to come up with some deep profound meditation on turning 30. I thought for sure I'd be able to sum up the experience in some witty fashion. Perhaps, I might even be able to dazzle the reading audience with some humorous story. Unfortunately I'm unable to do any of those things. I guess it's just another example of me failing to live up to my own expectations.

I realize that this post sounds rather gloomy and cynical. That wasn't my intent. More than anything else, I just wanted to expunge some of the thoughts that have been floating around in my head for the last couple of weeks. I hope it proves to be a cathartic experience. Sometimes you just need to get rid of the bad stuff in order to move forward to better stuff. After all, 30 is just a number and you're only as old as you feel. Anyone who knows me will tell you that there are some days when I feel 15 (or at least ACT like I'm 15!). So I figure I have nothing to worry about. I guess we'll just have to see. If nothing else, I hope to at least have some good stories to tell.

A mindless post for the sake of posting

Ok, ok I know I've promised in the past to do a better job of updating this thing. I also know that there is no shortage of excuses I could use in a feeble attempt to explain why I need to reiterate that I've promised in the past to do a better job of updating this thing. So, in an effort to start making good on this promise, I'm taking the easy way out and posting another post that just has to do with my newest CD I've burned from my MP3 collection. I know it's not the most interesting post in the world, but hey, it's a start. Having said that - and making another promise to actually post something new and original very, very soon - here it is.

1. Love and Memories - O.A.R.
2. Interstate - the Refreshments
3. Fall Back Down - Rancid
4. Pepper - Butthole Surfers
5. Mr. Roboto - Styxx
6. The Last Polka - Ben Folds Five
7. 8th of November - Big and Rich
8. Hero of the Day - Metallica
9. Thanks That Was Fun - Barenaked Ladies
10. Spirit of Radio - Rush
11. Never Mind the Strangers - the Saw Doctors
12. Rapid Hope Loss - Dashboard Confessional
13. You Know My Name - Chris Cornell
14. Overkill - Colin Hay
15. Girl Inside My Head - Blues Traveler
16. The Scientist - Coldplay

Monday, November 06, 2006

I'm back...sort of

I know I know...I've been terrible at keeping this thing updated. I warned all of you. Of course, that last statement presupposes that there is anyone still out there who checks and reads this thing (or that there was anyone who checked and read this thing at any point!) But, since tomorrow is Election Day, I thought the time was right to recycle something I wrote at about this time a couple of years ago.

Politics As Usual?

Tomorrow is Election Day. That means for the last several months we have been subjected to a constant stream of candidates on TV, radio, in public strutting their stuff and displaying their colors like peacocks. There’s mudslinging, campaign ads, and more mudslinging. It all reminds me of a couple of spoiled brats on the playground sticking their tongues out at each other and yelling things like “Nah nee nah nee boo boo, stick your head in doo doo” or something like that. As a matter of fact, I think I saw that exact same quote in James Madison’s notes on the constitutional Convention. I think Alexander Hamilton stuck his finger in his ear and yelled “nah nee nah nee boo boo” to Thomas Jefferson, at which time Jefferson took off his powdered wig and slapped Hamilton upside the head. The modern political ad was born.

And so for the last decade or so (at least it feels that long), we have been subjected to countless ads that accuse one side or the other of doing something so vile and heinous that the other side is upset they didn’t do it first. Nothing is off -limits. Well, nothing but good taste that is.

The funny thing about politics is that both sides are guilty of a type of rhetorical hypocrisy. Even worse is the fact that they both blame the other side for it. Conservatives love to espouse values and ideals, yet they attack non-conservatives with a hatred and downright meanness historically reserved for General Sherman’s troops as they marched through the south. At the same time, liberals moan and complain that all viewpoints should be heard – except the ones that disagree with them of course.

Those are the options we are faced with as an electoral public. Go ahead, make your choice – Scylla or Charybdis? I think American politics single-handedly disproves Darwin’s theory of evolution. When this fine nation was founded, the framers of the Constitution were the most educated, intelligent and savvy group of political minds that the world has ever seen. They created a document that has served as the model for governments all over the world for the past 200+ years. These were men of such intellectual fortitude that to this day, scholars debate the intricacies of the pieces of law they created.

So what the heck happened? How did we go from Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, Washington, and so on, to the politicians we have today? Somehow as a nation we backslid from the top of Mt. Olympus into the primordial ooze. At one time we had men like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington in charge of our nation – granted, I can debate with anyone the greatness of Jefferson, let’s just say he invented the modern game of politics as we know it, but his intellect is unquestionable. Now, we have Bucky the Wonder Slug running for elected office. How did we let this occur?

In the most recent Presidential election, we had a man who was widely considered an idiot running against a rhetoric-spewing Pez dispenser. Both sides attacked each other mercilessly and slung more mud than a concert-goer at Woodstock ’99. (By the way, if you can’t keep up with the pop culture references, I will provide a companion guide. Just send me a check for $19.95, plus shipping.) Even this year in a non-presidential election year, we have a new batch of people aligning on each side to defend their turf. If they start dancing, snapping their fingers, and signing about the joys of living in America, I’m leaving! Why does all of this remind me of those junior high “elections” where you won the office by selling more candy than the other candidate? Speaking of, I think my parents found a box of M&Ms in their closet from my failed mid-80s run at class president. I ate a lot of M&Ms and never did get elected. Oh well, they melt in you mouth not your hand – that’s important to remember.

Here is where it gets really messy. As bad as I make things out to be, it’s still important for all of us to participate. I would much rather have my choice of which talking head I want to pick than to have no say whatsoever. An elected idiot is better than one that derives his power from some other source – unless, of course, there was a sword and a stone involved. Maybe that’s the answer, maybe we just need to refine how we pick our elected leaders. Instead of months of campaign ads leading up to an election, let’s have an athletic competition or a test of intelligence. Let’s get rid of the Electoral College and replace it with Jeopardy. Wow, imagine that, suddenly the fate of our nation’s government would rest in the hands of Alex Trebek.

“I’ll take Belgian Philosophers for $800…and all the delegates from South Carolina please Alex.”

Ok, maybe not. It was worth a shot. I don’t think that is exactly what the Founding Fathers had in mind either. In the end we’re stuck with what we have, no matter how bad it is. So batten down the hatches and prepare yourselves for years and years of flying mud and rapid-fire accusations. Get ready for more spots where someone looks into the camera, trashes the other side and tells you they approved of this ad. Does anyone realize that if these politicians actually did everything they are accused of doing they would be either in prison or rehab? That’s ok, it makes for good TV.

It’s not too late to just let them sell M&Ms is it?